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Cisco and Microsoft Accelerate Cloud Providers’ Journey to the Hybrid Cloud

It can be a tough world out there for a cloud provider. You’re facing stiff competition from the big cloud players like Amazon and Google to deliver more flexible cloud services. But you have an edge that they don’t. Customers can trust you to deliver guaranteed reliability, security, and data sovereignty for business-critical applications in a way that pure public cloud providers can’t match.

To capitalize on that trust, you need to:

  • Offer a suite of public, private, and hybrid cloud solutions “as a service,” and bring them to market fast
  • Deliver business-class performance (scalability, flexibility, reliability and security, and more) against customer SLAs
  • Support key hybrid cloud capabilities like workload portability; and security, policy, and infrastructure management across clouds
  • Deliver globally while retaining data sovereignty

There are technologies available to do all of that, but typically you’d need to spend a lot of time and money knitting together hardware and software from multiple vendors. Then you’d have to test them to make sure they work together, and you could encounter a lot of complexity deploying and provisioning new services.

But there’s good news: Cisco and Microsoft have teamed up to create the next-generation architecture for cloud providers. It’s called the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform. And it’s going to make capturing the cloud opportunity a whole lot easier for you and your customers.


Introducing Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform

Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform combines Cisco’s world-class hardware with Microsoft’s enterprise-ready software to help you build comprehensive hybrid cloud solutions—faster, more easily, and more profitably. It’s part of a multi-year agreement between two of the world’s hybrid cloud heavyweights, Cisco and Microsoft, to deliver joint engineering, product development, and go-to-market support.

Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform is the result of a shared vision about how the cloud needs to work for businesses. We know that if you’re going to deliver viable cloud solutions to your customers private, public, and hybrid clouds need to work together seamlessly. And they need to be a lot easier to deploy and operate.

Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform maps application policy to infrastructure policy for Microsoft and third-party ISV applications. And it implements our Unified Data Center and Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) with Microsoft Windows Azure Pack (WAP) as part of a complete, pre-tested and validated, ready-to-deploy cloud platform. So you can deploy new applications and services at DevOps speed, with lifecycle support from the partners you trust.

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A New Type of Networking: Cisco Powered Cloud Partnerships

It’s time to face the facts. Unlike fashion trends, which come and go at a rate nearly impossible to keep up with, cloud computing is sticking around—for good.

Cloud is no longer considered a possible solution for your infrastructure needs; it’s a necessity. More companies are transitioning to a cloud platform for improved cash flow, higher efficiency, and an environment that supports growing business demands. You’ll just need to keep up.

Consider your workloads functioning similar to the Internet. Just as data is made accessible between systems, your workloads would move seamlessly and securely between clouds, giving you the flexibility to work from anywhere and the capability to expand your data center. Utilizing our large network of partners, we are able to make this a reality. We call it Intercloud—a globally connected network of clouds.

Making decisions around—and the actual transition to—the cloud can be intimidating, to say the least. We certainly don’t expect you to have to take it on alone. Cisco Powered partners are industry-leading cloud providers that, together, create a team of professional, trusted companies who can help you from initial planning stages, through implementation, and onward with continued management. Our unique partnerships make opportunities readily available to you that are tailored to your specific needs.

Read more about our partnerships, the Intercloud, and other Cisco cloud services in our newly released edition of Unleashing IT. You’ll find proof of the solidity of cloud, and why it’s putting companies much like yours at an advantage.

Here are just a couple of stories featured in this edition: Read More »

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Shadow IT and Breaking a Rule or Two

During my college years, I worked for a major US airline. It was a great job but could get a little rough when faced with cancellations, overbookings, missed connections, etc. However, when faced with challenging situations I was always very calm. I recognized the passengers emotions associated with the situation were mostly because they had somewhere to be: vacation, home, a graduation, a wedding, perhaps even a funeral.

I had to do my best to get them where they needed to be and a number of times I operated outside the box and broke a rule or two. I did not always know what to do and sometimes made mistakes. But my goal was to support the customer and my mantra was “it’s easier to ask forgiveness then to get permission.”

The Rise of Shadow IT – Blame the Navy

“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission”, is a quote attributed to Grace Hopper, Rear Admiral U.S Navy. Hopper developed the first programming language compiler as well as a number of other significant achievements during her Naval career. In a way I think her quote is very representative of my airline career and Shadow IT.

IT “Called” the Shots

There was a time when IT was the keeper of all things (compute, network, storage). Getting a resource was a process of paper, purchase, procure, process, plan, prepare, and on, and on, and on. Your project needed time built into it for those processes and procedures. These processes and procedures are important to corporate accounting, security and resource management. However with Cloud services you can get the resource you need whenever you want it – and not have to worry about any of the corporate guidelines. Pay with a credit card, submit an expense report, and you’re ready to go.

This ability has given rise to the dichotomy of “just get it done”, but “within the guidelines of corporate processes.” The former is the driver of Shadow IT and the latter can be solved with Cisco Cloud Consumption & Cisco Intercloud Fabric and turn dichotomy into harmony. Here’s how.  Read More »

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CliQr and Cisco ACI take an “Application First” approach to Hybrid Clouds

In the application economy, it is all about time to application delivery and focus on optimizing the entire application lifecycle. With the sustained “cloudification” of IT, supporting multiple applications while reducing cost and complexity in a multi-cloud environment becomes very critical.  Most companies suffer from application sprawl with scripting, complex workflows and a cumbersome ticket-based approach defining the application rollout.  It is therefore no surprise that many companies hit the “pause” button especially when they are not in a position devise a clear strategy to automate and manage applications in a multi-cloud environment. Unfortunately, this puts them in a holding pattern and at a competitive disadvantage vs. others that are willing to take a more proactive role to transforming the application lifecycle.

The good news is several innovative solutions today are cropping up to address this problem. For its part as a leading infrastructure vendor Cisco is making it really easy to program and automate infrastructure, as well as focus on solutions that build private clouds or establish a mature hybrid cloud presence. Cisco’s UCS portfolio, open NX-OS capability across the Nexus family of switches, SDN controller-based solutions like the Virtual Topology System (VTS) as well as industry-leading innovations like Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) are all making rapid strides in this direction.

The Cisco ACI approach has been focused on making networks (and other network infrastructure components) more application centric for traditional data center as well as cloud-based deployments embracing a mix of Cisco innovations, open source, open APIs as well as a very robust open ecosystem. Several established players as well as innovative startups have seen value in coming on board this ecosystem and delivering joint solutions to customers. One such exciting startup is CliQr, located in Santa Clara – the heart of the Silicon Valley.

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Better Management for Private Clouds

Whether you call it digital disruption or the age of the empowered customer, business models are being disrupted; and at the center are our customers.  Customers are driving new consumption models that focus and align the way they want to consume technology:  faster, cheaper and with a higher degree of service.  Accommodating our customers requires a business model that instantly creates and sustains business services.

Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite is a more valuable and proven way for any business to design, build and deploy private cloud services. It is rich in corporate enablement capabilities so you can meet the rising productivity challenges of today’s new operational models. It allows your business to better leverage data center resources and people at scale.

What makes Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite unique is modular automation, extensibility and coverage control.  You do not have to install all the components of the solution before you see business value or experience ROI.   Want to start by automating just the compute layer?  You can, just watch.

Looking for a bit more than compute as a service?  Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite delivers a hybrid-ready private cloud.  This means your customers can consume data center, applications and business services from the same self-service portal aligning customers with their preferred method of consumption. Developers also benefit from the automated delivery of application stacks to accelerate delivery of new applications.

To learn more, watch this:

Does your business and application teams want workload placement flexibility?  Again, no problem.  Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite delivers a secure hybrid cloud network connection to any service provider or hypervisor platform. Command and control is maintain as your business’s governance is included. This video explains our hybrid cloud capabilities.

With Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite you get:

  • A modular architecture allowing you to automate at a pace comfortable to your business while it experiences ROI along the way
  • A self-service portal that converts data center and business services as well as applications into automated services that are delivered without human intervention
  • Peace of mind with secure hybrid cloud governance and compliance controls so employees can place workloads in the most efficient environment
  • Extensibility and coverage across diverse, heterogeneous technologies

This unique combination of ingredients is essential for a true enterprise class private cloud management solution.  Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite belongs on every enterprise’s list of private cloud management solutions to evaluate.

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